AFC representative in Kathmandu to discuss ANFA elections
March 27, 2018 09:15 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, March 27: A representative from Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has arrived in Kathmandu on Monday to take stock of the situation leading to deferral of the elections of All Nepal Football Association (ANFA), which was scheduled for Wednesday.
International Relation Director at AFC, Ravi Kumar, will hold formal discussions with ANFA officials starting Tuesday. Kumar held informal talks with the ANFA officials soon after arriving at the capital, according to ANFA President Narendra Shrestha.
ANFA, on Sunday, postponed its general assembly and central working committee elections for the fourth time in three months until further notice, following a stay order from the Patan High Court. The general assembly was expected to elect a 17-member working committee for the next four years. Incumbent senior vice-president Mani Kunwar and former vice-president Karma Tshiring Sherpa were in fray for ANFA presidency.
Hearing on the writ petition filed by Bhaktapur District Football Association president Gautam Sukhaju and Makwanpur District Football Association vice-president Manish Shrestha, the Patan High Court on Thursday had issued an interim order staying the ANFA elections. The court also ordered both sides to appear before the court within 15 days. The duo had filed the petition after ANFA failed to conduct elections of Bhaktapur and Makwanpur district chapters owing to controversy over electoral representatives.
ANFA General Secretary Dhirendra Pradhan, issuing a press release on Sunday, had stated the elections were put off indefinitely.
Despite the interim order of the court, the world governing body of football, FIFA and AFC had directed ANFA to conduct its elections on the stipulated time. But, ANFA election committee, saying that it could not conduct elections by disregarding the court’s verdict, had put off the general assembly. Even though the ANFA working committee’s term expired in November, it had fixed the date of March 28 for holding elections, following internal disputes.
ANFA’s failure to conduct the elections—which have been put off time and again—has increased the possibility of FIFA ban on the Nepali football body. The future of Nepali football will surely depend on the report that AFC representative Kumar will submit after his visit. Experts say FIFA ban on Nepal is inevitable as FIFA and AFC are tired of the long standing controversy in Nepali football.
“The election should have been conducted in November last year. But, ANFA failed to conduct elections due to internal disputes. FIFA and AFC showed flexibility and waited until March. We have postponed the elections time and again. Now, they will not accept any excuse, under any circumstance, for failure to hold elections on time,” said an ANFA official.
But ANFA President Shrestha expressed his belief that Nepal will not be banned as they were eager to hold the elections as soon as possible after resolving the court case.
“As we have already moved forward with the process of elections in Makwanpur, We can expect to conclude its election within 12 days. About Bhaktapur, we are not in a condition to hold elections before concluding the case,” said Shrestha. “We are not in the position to hold elections as directed by FIFA. The election committee is not in a position to conduct elections by disregarding the court’s verdict. Even if we conduct elections forcefully, the government will not validate it. Then, we will not be able to run the football activities in the country.
All the issues will be resolved in a few days. We are willing to hold the elections as soon as possible after fulfilling the legal compliances. Therefore, there is no risk of FIFA ban. After all, FIFA will see our intention.”
According to Shrestha, AFC representative Kumar is scheduled to meet ANFA presidential candidate Sherpa on Monday morning and election committee in the afternoon. AFC will decide on Nepali football’s future after studying Kumar’s report.
Meanwhile, National Sports Council (NSC) on Monday wrote to ANFA advising the football governing body to hold general assembly with due compliance to the court’s verdict. NSC has stated that the election controversy has drawn its attention and has hinted at intervening into the football crisis of Nepal.